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$5,500 pledged of $10,000 goal
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By Wesla Whitfield
$5,500 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About this project

There's something very cool going on here. It was mentioned in a recent NY Times review of yet another San Francisco singer making her Manhattan debut - something about how so many good singers come from San Francisco and a speculation that perhaps it is 'something here in the water' that produces such a plethora of fine vocalists from a relatively small area.

Inexplicibly, over the years, I've taken this for granted as a commonplace phenomenon and nothing extraordinary, something occurring in every city - but then again, perhaps not!

Commonplace or extraordinary, it is real. The idea got me thinking as I was gazing at our vast collection of books - mostly on jazz instrumentalists. I've been a singer in San Francisco for a few decades and know a great many really good singers, and very little has been written on the subject.

While there are a few people around who knew the scene in the 30's, 40's and 50's along with a great many others who can speak authoritatively on the decades since, why not get it all written down to preserve the history of this wonderful tradition. And why don't I do that. 

I want to know and share the story behind each of these singers. My goal is to interview as many as possible, - the current list is long - learn how and why they first began to sing and perform, what prompted them to become professional entertainers and also touch on a few of their many adventures and experiences along the way. I can think of nothing more fascinating than this particular 'human experience'. Several singers have already agreed to participate, and interviews have begun. 

As for the title, 'girl singer' is a common  term used throughout the music industry since the very first time singers became part of an instrumental group. Yes, sometimes it is a pejorative term, and yes, there are as many 'girl singer' jokes as there are funny stories about the drummer, the bass player and the trombonist. Here 'girl singer' takes center stage as a celebrated position along side the other musicians and lauded as a badge of honor. If you love singers, you'll love being part of this book.

Here's an example of what you can expect this book to be - an excerpt from a recent interview with Faith Winthrop

  Faith Winthrop, honored singer/songwriter/vocal coach is a San Francisco institution, having arrived in the mid 50s, and immediately securing the prestigious 'house singer' position at the hungry i. 

In response to my question of what she would do should her voice begin to fail, she offered a wise are carefully considered response. "I would stop if I could no longer honor the lyric", and adds she'd be quite comfortable using a lyric sheet when necessary. She now lowers her keys - 'It's better than singing flat. I'd much rather be in tune'. 

Faith also shared a wonderful story on the topic. Having worked with Dean Reilly, beloved bass player for many years, beginning with the hungry i, the two of them were recently rehearsing the song 'Manhattan' in G flat. Reilly questioned the key with "Didn't you sing this a long time ago in G"? Faith responded that she had indeed. Replied Reilly "Call me again when you're doing it in F".

What the Money Will Be Used For:

My goal is to produce a quality hard cover book including many photos - not only of each singer but also group photos taken within the many clubs and performance rooms both current and past. A large portion of the funds will be spent on printing and publishing the book, and a budget outline follows this section. 'Self Publishing' has come a long way from the 'vanity press' concept. Many companies offer a vast array of formats and services, and I am thoroughly researching all those to find the  publishing house with the most appropriate services for this project.

In addition to physical books, an online, 'download' format version will also be available, and many publishing houses offer this service. This EBook format is a powerful tool for publicizing the book and making it available virtually 'everywhere'. Many libraries, both public and private, are expanding the electronic format division of their collection, and like it or not, it is most definitely the wave of the future. 

  • Budget Outline 

    PUBLISHING ............ 6500.00

    Hardcover, 300 copies plus EBook

    GAS ……………......... 500.00

    40 round trips approx. 170 miles each

    PREMIUMS …...........1250.00

    CDs 850.00  Other 400.00

    POSTAGE …..…......... 500.00

    KICKSTARTER  5% .. 500.00

                                       TOTAL - $9250.00

Risks and challenges

Because this undertaking is so large, the stretch of time needed to conduct and write each interview will be lengthy. This will require much patience from project contributors as there will be several months between donation and delivery dates. Hopefully, regular updates will keep everyone adequately satisfied. I plan to report regularly as to the progress being made. On occasion, it will be necessary to take a break from interviewing while I continue to perform - and even rehearse from time to time. These factors mean that the project will most likely be completed in the Fall of 2015. It would be great to finish before then, and the ultimate goal is to complete and produce the final product as soon as possible.

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    Donors receive a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet and my heartfelt thanks

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    Donors receive a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet,

    a genuine 'Girl Singer' notions bag sewn by me, and my heartfelt
    thanks.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Donors receive an EBOOK copy of the finished manuscript - including all photos, a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet, a genuine 'Girl Singer' notions bag sewn by me. and my heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Donors receive an EBOOK copy of the finished manuscript - including all photos, a copy of 'Best of Wesla Whitfield' CD, a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet, a genuine 'Girl Singer' notions bag sewn by me, and my heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Donors receive a Wesla Whitfield handmade teddy bear, a hardback copy of the finished manuscript, a copy of 'Best of Wesla Whitfield' CD, a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet, a genuine 'Girl Singer' notions bag sewn by me and my heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Donors receive a Wesla Whitfield handmade, nap size afghan (color choice blues/greens, browns beiges or reds/golds), a hardback copy of the finished manuscript. a copy of 'Best of Wesla Whitfield' CD, a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet, a genuine 'Girl Singer' notions bag sewn by me, and my heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Donors receive a Wesla Whitfield handmade Teddy Bear, a handmade, nap size afghan (color choice blues/greens, browns/beiges or reds/golds), a hardcover copy of the finished manuscript, a copy of 'Best of Wesla Whitfield' CD, a 'Girl Singers' refrigerator magnet, a genuine 'Girl Singer' notions bag sewn by me, and my heartfelt thanks.

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Funding period

- (30 days)